How do you retain good employees

"Retaining good employees is truly about engaging them in all facets of spa operations. Education and one-on-one communication are the most valuable tools to developing happy and productive employees. When employees understand the spa's goals and benchmarks and become a part of the decision-making process, they find more value in their career. For example, fitness professionals need to understand the intricacies of the front desk, massage therapists need to understand the importance of retail sales, and locker room attendants need to understand the daily business flow. When employees are educated about the over-all goals of the spa, they will contribute more effectively and efficiently. At Spa Gaucin, I have found it invaluable to spend uninterrupted time with each associate to share ideas and develop steps to achieving goals together."—Valory Reed, spa director, Spa Gaucin at The St. Regis Resort, Monarch Beach (Dana Point, CA)

"Because knowledge development in this industry cannot be achieved purely in the workplace, we value people who are dedicated beyond their work hours; people who love to learn and better themselves. We believe that encouraging such growth often means more than any kind of financial incentive. Not only do we treat our staff as hourly paid employees with benefits, but we also like to give them frequent opportunities to enhance their knowledge through paid training and free product sampling. We also try to make each of them feel like an invaluable part of the team by implementing their ideas."—Katarina Elder, spa manager, Cape May Day Spa (Cape May, NJ)

"Retention begins by hiring the right people in the first place. I find that a team-oriented applicant with a positive attitude is far more valuable than someone who is talented but self-absorbed. Everyone wants to work in a place where they are treated fairly, respected for their work, rewarded appropriately, and encouraged to balance their work and private life. The spa is a healing space, and it is the director's responsibility to set the expectation of harmony throughout the spa. Unhappy therapists and staff transmit their negative feelings to guests without saying a word. It is important to keep the energy positive, as it builds loyalty from both guests and staff." —Toni Nurnberg, spa director, The Spa at Sedona Rouge (Sedona, AZ)

"We are very fortunate to have more than seventy percent of our staff for more than ten years, and some even more than twenty years. We have an amazing leader, Aida Thibiant, who drives the business with product and service innovations and treats everyone with mutual respect. She creates a beautiful environment for us to work in and challenges us so we do not become complacent: We are like family."—Joan Alsbrook, spa manager, Thibiant Beverly Hills Day Spa (Beverly Hills, CA)

—Compiled and edited by Heather Mikesell